When Ruth Wilson features in a new show, you can bet it’s going to be a good one. Whether she’s playing Alison Lockhart in The Affair, Jane Eyre in the 2006 TV adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel or research scientist Alice Morgan in Netflix hit Luther, the English actress is often at the forefront of the buzziest TV drama of the moment. The latest? A new gothic thriller from the BBC, The Woman In The Wall. A chilling new trailer has given us a glimpse into what to expect – here are all the details we have so far.
The Woman In The Wall: What Do We Know So Far?
The Woman In The Wall will explore the effects of The Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, institutions usually run by Roman Catholic orders where women who had been outcast from society were sent – usually because they had become pregnant outside of marriage. Operating in the late 18th to the late 20th centuries, these were were punitive places where women were imprisoned and subject to severe maltreatment.
Set in the fictional Irish town of Kilkinure, the six-part series will follow Lorna Brady (Wilson), who wakes up one morning to discover a dead body in her house. Unsurprisingly, she becomes one of the main suspects in the murder case – but did she do it? And could her sleepwalking tendencies have anything to do with it?
Brady has had a troublesome past. As the synopsis tells us: ‘Lorna has long suffered from extreme bouts of sleepwalking, understood to have manifested around the time she was ripped from her life at the age of 15 and incarcerated in the Kilkinure Convent. The convent was home to one of Ireland’s infamous Magdalene Laundries, a place where women were taken when they fell afoul of the social mores of their times. There, Lorna gave birth to her daughter Agnes, who was cruelly taken from her and whose fate Lorna has never known.’
Brought in to investigate the case is the ‘extremely ambitious, albeit elusive’ detective Colman Akande, played by Daryl McCormack – who has starred in shows like Bad Sisters and Peaky Blinders. ‘Colman quickly rose through the ranks of the Garda Síochána thanks to his natural aptitude for the job,’ the synopsis says. But it turns out Akande also has secrets of his own: ‘He possesses a dark and sometimes scathing wit but there is a quiet sadness to him that even he doesn’t understand, and he’s hiding his own secrets from the world.
‘As Colman searches for a murderer and Lorna searches for her daughter, their paths collide in ways they could never have anticipated.’
Alongside Wilson and McCormack, The Woman In The Wall stars Abby Fitz as a young Brady, plus names including Chizzy Akudolu, Simon Delaney, Fiona Browne and Liam Heslin.
As well as playing the lead, Wilson is the executive producer of the show. Speaking about playing Brady, she said: ‘Lorna Brady is a complex and fascinating character and I’m thrilled to help bring her to life.’
The show was written by Joe Murtagh, whose CV includes the BAFTA nominated 2019 crime drama Calm with Horses starring Cosmo Jarvis. ‘My family is from Mayo, the county in which the fictional Kilkinure is set, and it deeply frustrates and saddens me that it feels so few people have heard of the Laundries that existed across Ireland,’ he said. ‘I hope that by making something that has the familiarity of a genre piece we are able to shed some light on the awful things that occurred within these kind of institutions and introduce this history to the wider public, so that nothing like it may ever happen again.’
You can watch the unsettling new trailer below.
The release date has not yet been announced – watch this space.